U.S. Congressional candidates meet with area Democrats at ice cream social

A trio of U.S. First District Congressional candidates spoke at the ice cream social hosted by the Allamakee County Democrats Sunday, August 20. Pictured above, left to right, are candidates Courtney Rowe, Thomas Heckroth and Abby Finkenauer, along with Lori Egan, who is a candidate for Iowa House District 56. Submitted photo.

Although the June 2018 primary is months away, three of the Democratic candidates for U.S. Congress met with local Democrats in Waukon at the ice cream social hosted by the Allamakee County Democrats Sunday, August 20. Candidates Abby Finkenauer, Thomas Heckroth and Courtney Rowe were introduced by Lori Egan of Waukon, who is a candidate for State House District 56 representing Allamakee and Clayton counties.

Abby Finkenauer is a State Representative elected in 2014 to represent Dubuque in the State Legislature. She has worked at the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque with Jackson County, Jones County, Delaware County, Clayton County and Allamakee County affiliate foundations and currently serves on the board of Greater Dubuque Development Corporation. Finkenauer believes that hard work should be rewarded and everyone should be given the chance to succeed.

She shared with those in attendance that affordable education, investing in communities, and creating jobs with higher wages and affordable healthcare will make it possible for people to achieve their American Dream here in Iowa. She said closing corporate loopholes which reward companies who move their companies overseas will provide the money for investment in rural Iowa and the investment in people.

Thomas Heckroth, a sixth-generation Iowan, grew up in Waverly and graduated from the University of Iowa. Heckroth was a member of Senator Tom Harkin’s staff where he focused on agriculture, education and labor policy. He later joined the Obama Administration’s Department of Labor, holding corporations and trading partners accountable to protect workers’ rights. Following his government service, Heckroth worked as Director of Sustainable Manufacturing for a clothing maker where he enforced fair labor and environmental standards at home and around the world. He now resides in Cedar Falls.

“I’m running because we need an economy that values work more than wealth,” Heckroth said. “We need to stop leaders from rewriting the rules to favor billionaires and corporations and commit to strengthening working families.” Heckroth sees Iowans working harder but not getting ahead because needed investments are not being made that spur innovation, growth and higher paying jobs. “It’s time we invest in people, rebuild a secure middle class, and regain our faith in the future,” said Heckroth.  He suggested that needed investments include modernizing broadband, infrastructure, technology, research and development, education and quality health care.

Courtney Rowe is an aerospace engineer working for Rockwell Collins in Cedar Rapids. She said she is running for Congress to solve problems which she sees as the main responsibility of those holding public office. Overall, her emphasis is on improving the economy for the working and middle classes by investing in education, clean energy, infrastructure and health care. Rowe is calling for free trade school and free college tuition, single payer health insurance, and raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Through her green energy plan, Rowe believes business opportunities will be created and people will be put to work.  At the same time, this nation will be more energy secure and greenhouse gas emission will be reduced.

One part of her plan is changing Federal Housing Administration mortgage regulations to allow homeowners to finance clean energy improvements over 20 to 30 years, helping make homes more energy efficient and create a customer base for alternative energy companies, which will result in more jobs and more investment in clean energy. To help small businesses and entrepreneurs, Rowe would like to see a stock market approach which would allow the public to invest. Rowe noted that her campaign does not and will not take any political action committee (PAC) money.

Democratic candidate for U.S. Congress George Ramsey III, who is a former military recruiter who works at Four Oaks in Cedar Rapids, was unable to be at Sunday's event due to a death in his family. State Senator Jeff Danielson from Waterloo is also considering entering the race. The Democratic Primary is scheduled to be held June 5, 2018.

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